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October 1, 1960

Mein Leiben Schätzchen,

I asked my co-worker what this means because she knows German phrases for some reason. She said it was a term of endearment, but when I used google translate it literally translates to “My overeating baby,” which is exactly what I call myself, oddly enough. I’m *guessing* he meant “lieben” because it means “love” but I prefer to think Karen has a big appetite and he thinks that’s super cute! 

I met Beverly today. Obviously for the first time. I also met two of her and one of your girlfriends. One was Rosemarie S[redacted]., Bev’s roommate, and the other was Elaine B[redacted], who knows you and Beverly.

So Bev and Elaine are Karen’s friends from back home and Rosemary is Bev’s college roommate. Does Karen need you to explain who Elaine is, Russ? I mean, it appears she knows Elaine and Bev and you know she knows Elaine and Bev and the entire reason you’re hanging out with any of them is because of Karen. 

The meeting was fortunate for both of us as it preserved our respective honor, so to speak.

I smell scandal.

First of all, Beverly gave very livid [sic] descriptions of “me” to her friends on two occasions. Said descriptions went: “short, rather thin, long dark hair, glasses, an ‘intellectual’ look.” This rather negative description was enhanced and brought to full bloom in the minds of Rosemary [sic] and Elaine.

This sounds like a cute boy to me but maybe nerdy skinny is not cool in the 1950s? Also, his random spelling of Rosemarie/Rosemary tells me he wasn’t the least bit attracted to her so Karen doesn’t have that to worry about. 

So anyway, when I went over to LAR this afternoon, I called Beverly’s room and she, informed me of saying she would be down shortly, told me she sent down a girl named Elaine and described what she was wearing. She also said she had just sent her down [RUSS IS PUTTING US IN PRONOUN HELL]. A girl who fit the description had walked by earlier, but I didn’t pay too much attention because of the time difference. I could be mistaken, so I waited.

However, said suspicions—looking girl looked around the lounge, went back to the phones and called x679 (Bev’s). She then proceeded to inform Beverly of my absence. This I could not exactly understand because I was standing right behind her, and I thought Bev knew what I looked like. However, I made my presence obvious by interjecting the comment that I was there, big as life, in full color and CinemaScope.

THIS IS A DELIGHTFUL 1950s cultural reference. 

Elaine looked shocked, Beverly looked shocked — when they saw me initially. [PEN CHANGE FROM BLUE TO BLACK] Something was amiss.

Finally, the pending explanation came out and all was clear. Bev on a past telephone conversation had mentioned my attending some New Year’s Eve party or some other affair with Terry T. [messy spelling/unclear]. The description fits, — the guy who attended the affair with Terry. Only I didn’t attend said affair. George D.[redacted] did.

WHEW, Glad we got to the bottom of that mystery! The lives of people in their 20s are so much more boring than I remember. I am bored now, in my 40s, but at least I can afford decent booze and I don’t care if college guys think I’m hot (largely because there’s no chance they will? Heh). 

So. Then I was going to meet Rosemarie. Fine. Bev and I went downstairs but Rosemarie had flown the coop and left nothing behind. Schade.

What does “Schade” mean? I was hoping it was short for schadenfreude (the only German word I know) and it sorta is. Google says it means “Pity.” 

Bev went upstairs to retrieve Rosemary [sic]. Meanwhile Elaine came back, unknown to me, with Rosemarie. However, the light isn’t too good in the basement rec room or LAR and Elaine didn’t recognize me.

 These bishes are cold.

However, they walked into the little room they call their canteen and had a discussion concerning the pros and cons of whether the guy sitting outside was me or not (it was).

Finally, Bev arrives and they got the point loud and clear. The gentleman outside was no less than me.

 Russ, you coulda helped the ladies out here.

Rosemarie was shocked. I was beginning to expect that reaction. Anyway, the gist of their overheard (by me) conversation was that I was superior to their conception of me.

Elaine, Rosemary and Beverly. In CinemaScope, no less.

LOL, Russ, this entire story is so you can tell your girl how much hotter you are these days. I feel you. 

So you are no longer considered quite so desperate. Your reputation is salvaged, at least in part. My reputation will not be besmirched by “long dark hair, short, skinny with glasses, and an ‘intellectual’ look, not meant in the complimentary sense.” My ego was lifted from the depths to which it was beginning to sink.

And Beverly will probably lose no time in telling you the same story from her end of the deal.

How much would I pay for Bev’s letter? SO MUCH. I doubt she employs the passive voice as aggressively. 

However, I thought the whole affair quite funny and it served as an excellent booster for a lousy weekend.

I made arrangements — or rather Beverly did — for my parents, sister, and cousin to stay overnight, which has many benefits. Use of a car and seeing the family for a greater length of time. Everything is pretty well set then. I can’t thank Bev enough, especially since she offered her services without my even hinting. I never expected her to do any more than put you up for the night. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Does getting to use the car mean he gets to make out with Karen? I might just be grasping at romantic straws on this one.

Beverly also made another suggestion which I go for in a big way, but which would involve — possibly — some inconvenience on your end. i.e. coming down Friday. I’m free after 1:00 p.m. Friday and would more than like the idea, but you’d have to come on the train. I’ll probably call you before you get this letter, but, in any case, if you’re interested, the following trains leave the IC stations at 63rd and Dorchester on Friday:

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I didn’t transcribe the list of departures and arrivals, but Russ is very subtle with this “FRIDAY NIGHT, BB, YOU AND ME AND NONE OF MY FAMILY” business, yes? And then Russ gets all nerdy about trains, and I like it:

These are Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans trains. The 5 p.m. train is probably your best bet unless you can leave on the 9:15 a.m. However, the 9:15 a.m. is The City of Miami and only runs on alternate dates. Furthermore, the schedule was effective Aug. 2, 1959 and the times may have changed.

God, Russ is such a boy nerd.

Probably not much through. They are a rough guide toward your decision. You’ll have to check another thing. The IC may very well run a special to Champaign so checking into that would be a good idea.

The agent at the 63rd St. (Woodlawn) station, 1415 East 63rd St. is at the phone Hyde Park 3-0825 [Old Timey phone number for you kids reading along at home]. Just ask for the departure times of trains leaving for Champaign, Oct. 7, Friday.

Do you think Russ wants Karen to show up before his family? DO YOU? 

One of my parents will probably take you to the station, I think.

Good luck, Sweetheart. Study hard, but not too hard, and have fun. See you soon, the sooner the better.

With love,

Russ

 

2 comments on “Mein Leiben Schatzchen – October 1, 1960”

  1. Oh, Russ. Oh, sweet nerdy Russ. I can totally see him sitting outside nervously fiddling with his horn rimmed glasses while the girls all dissect his looks and character and he JUST SITS THERE and doesn’t alert them to his actual Russitude.

    HURRY UP AND DO THE NEXT ONE.

  2. They’re totally gonna make out. Also, his parents are *very* accommodating, as my parents themselves never even visited me at college, much less bring my boyfriend down to visit!

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